The Same But Much Different
After a week spending some serious time in this year’s Inov-8 Roclite 268 I feel I have enough miles and time in some varying conditions to write about them. My motivation for the new shoes was that after doing some damage to my feet in World’s Toughest Mudder and then prolonging healing throughout the winter, I realized my shoes were not big enough. So I went ahead sucked it up and ordered a new pair a half size larger.
I had liked the old shoe but was never in love with it. I originally ordered it based on recommendations from a few ultra-runner friends. I relied on their advice and decided to go ahead and order them. I would go on to use them for my overnight hike in the fall, most of World’s Toughest Mudder, and then again this winter for the Peak Races snowshoe half marathon. So it’s safe to say I have logged some time on them. But it was time to go a half size up and I opted for this year’s model.
This was probably one of the best decisions I could have made. Although the shoes share the same name and same basic specs they have a completely different feel in my opinion. The old pair had always felt a little rigid and was what put me off from loving them. This new pair has a much more responsive feel. But before I go into the subjective matter here are the tech specs:
Inov-8 Roclite 268
Heel/Toe Differential: 9mm
Sex: Women’s (although the men’s shoe is very similar just heavier)
So what makes them feel so different although they are the same shoe? Well for me it seems that Inov-8 has for lack of a better word, softened the shoe. In the past I had always felt it was a little rigid and would soften with wear. This however never really happened. They always felt a little stiff compared to some of their other shoes.
This pair on the other hand seem to be more flexible. I can feel the terrain underfoot much better. In the past few days I have run on trails and encountered snow, ice, mud, rocks, and everything in-between. The only thing that has been missing is a dry trail. With this varying terrain I have been able to really feel out the shoe. The grip is great on the terrain as the old pair was in that aspect they are the same. Really the big difference is the feel on my foot. (I have a wider foot with minimal arch)
The biggest change for me and this completely had to do with sizing was the fact the heel troubles I have been having all winter due to some calluses have disappeared since I stepped into this shoe. It is mostly due to the fact I went up half a size but also the mesh material that makes up the inner shoe is much softer than the old pair. It also holds my heel in a better position and minimizes all rubbing and hotspots.
Overall, this is the shoe I plan on wearing for some of my longer races coming up this year. My favorite still for most race days is the Inov-8 X-Talon 190’s and the X-Talon 212’s as the tread on them is second to none when trying to navigate through deep mud and other obstacles. But this is my training shoe on the trails and racing shoe for longer events or hiking days.
I buy my shoes through Zappos as they have the best return policy and seem to have one of the most comprehensive sections of Inov-8’s.